About Us

Lidia Bastianich

Lidia Bastianich: founder & president of Tavola Productions, an entertainment company that produces high-quality broadcast productions including Lidia’s Italy, an Emmy-nominated television series; one of the best-loved chefs on television, a best-selling cookbook author, restaurateur & owner of a flourishing food & entertainment business. Her line of cookbooks include, Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy & Lidia’s Italy (both companion books to the Lidia’s Italy) as well as Lidia’s Family Table, Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen, Lidia’s Italian Table & La Cucina di Lidia. Lidia is the chef/owner of four acclaimed New York City restaurants — Felidia, Becco, Esca & Del Posto, as well as Lidia’s Pittsburgh & Lidia’s Kansas City. Together with her son Joseph, she produces award-winning wines at their Bastianich Vineyards in Friuli. 2007 signified a true benchmark in Lidia’s career, as she had the esteem honor of cooking for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI during his travels to New York. In fall of 2010, Lidia released her first children’s book, soon to be a holiday classic, Nonna Tell Me a Story: Lidia’s Christmas Kitchen. Perhaps the single most important quality that Lidia shares is her belief that it’s not only the food on the table that makes the meal, it’s the people who join around the table who bring the meal to life. Her signature line: “Tutti a tavola a mangiare!” means “Everybody to the table to eat!”

Visit LidiasItaly.com

If you love her restaurants, read her cookbooks or watch her Public Television series Lidia’s Italy, visit Lidia online at www.lidiasitaly.com.

We’re also happy to announce Lidia’s personal blog. Keep up to speed with the 1st Lady of Italian Cooking & what exciting new additions she’s making in her restaurants & television show.

Click here to read about exciting updates from Lidia’s blog ›


The Culinary Team

Executive Chef
Dan Swinney

Dan Swinney, Executive Chef at Lidia’s Restaurant in Kansas City traces his love for good cooking to the time he spent on his grandparents’ dairy farm in southern Missouri. There he learned the importance of eating seasonally, growing locally and how to utilize everything available on the farm. Nothing ever went to waste. Dan built upon these values at the beginning of his professional career in 1985 when he received an apprenticeship through the American Culinary Federation. Working with Hyatt hotels, he earned an AOS in Culinary Arts and completed a 6,000 hour chef apprenticeship. He was the Executive Chef at The Classic Cup Westport and at Zola restaurant where he earned high marks from the local press for his honest and innovative cuisine.

In 1998 when Lidia and Joseph Bastianich announced plans to open a restaurant in Kansas City–their first outside of New York —Dan was chosen as Chef de Cuisine and was involved in all aspects of the planning and opening of this 165-seat showcase. In 2000 he was promoted to the position of Executive Chef. Now in his 14th year, the restaurant remains one of the top culinary destinations in the Midwest, regularly serving 2500 guests per week. Working with Lidia has provided Dan the opportunity to focus on studying what he loves most, Italian culture and cuisine. Numerous research trips to Italy over the last decade have allowed Dan to examine the nuances of many of Italy’s regions, and to experience first hand the true flavors of Italy.

Dan lives in the Brookside area of Kansas City with his wife Joey and their five children.


Chef De Cuisine
Cody Hogan

Before being distracted by food, Cody Hogan was a classical pianist. While studying music in Germany as a Rotary scholar, Cody became interested in the culinary arts and found himself a few years later working at Chez Panisse. In 1998 he began to work with Lidia Bastianich, with whom he has worked for the past 13 years. Cody is currently the Chef de Cuisine of Lidia’s Kansas City restaurant, but also has the enviable position of being her traveling assistant, food stylist, and the studio chef for her Emmy-nominated television program in which he occasionally appears on camera. Cody has been extremely active in promoting great local farms and products in the Midwest. He teaches regularly at the Culinary Center of Kansas City and is an avid gardener.


Sous Chef
Daniel Walker

Daniel Walker has worked as the sous chef at Lidia’s Kansas City since 2010. Before coming to Lidia’s, he served as the executive chef at the Riverside Hotel on the outskirts of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, from 2008-10. He credits his time spent in the kitchen with his grandmother, and his experience at the Riverside, as the inspirations for his love of cooking. He is a passionate proponent of fresh, local ingredients, and especially enjoys preparing cured meats and fresh sausages in the Lidia’s scratch kitchen.


Pastry Chef
Danica Pollard

Danica Pollard is currently the executive pastry chef at Lidia’s Italy Kansas City, a position she has commanded since 2007. Her career began with completion of the culinary program at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City. This was followed by an internship at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s 66 in New York City. Switching coasts, Danica took a position at Café Pinot in Los Angeles where she worked for Master Chef Joachim Splichal. Her last post prior to Lidia’s Italy Kansas City took her to Nobu, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s restaurant in New York City. In addition to being a member of the culinary team for the James Beard Awards in 2009, Danica was awarded the People’s Choice for Best New Pastry Chef Central United States by Food and Wine Magazine in February of 2012. And on June 24th, 2012, Danica will be one of the featured chefs at the Chef’s Classic benefiting Harvesters.

The Management Team

  • Matt Green —  General Manager mgreen@lidias-kc.com
  • Mandy Waters — Administrative Manager mwaters@lidias-kc.com
  • Jen Bryant — Private Dining, Sales & Marketing jbryant@lidias-kc.com
  • Andrea Moyer — Wine Director amoyer@lidias-kc.com